RE: Thank you, and you are most welcome!
I currently own a 1989 Civic station wagon with 227,000 miles and a 2004 Element with 28,000 miles. I use the Civic for everyday driving (commuting, errands, etc.). I use the newer car primarily for long trips and as a backup to my Civic. The Civic is much less comfortable at the age of 18 BUT it gets between 37 and 41 mpg typically. Last week on a long trip I got 45. The Element gets 27 mpg at best!
Truthfully, it's not all about saving money. I am really concerned with the environmental impact of using automobiles so excessively as we do in this country. The US clearly consumes more of everything the planet has to offer, but we have a nasty addiction to driving our cars. Personally, I think the best thing that could happen to curb our fuel consumption is for the price of gasoline to rise to a point that reflects the true cost of all this driving. Unfortunately, like the point somebody in this thread recently made (I think it was Andy, in fact), I agree that the recent rise at the pumps is benefiting the oil companies more than anyone else. It would be far more productive to steer those funds to investing in alternative fuels as opposed to more drilling - ESPECIALLY in those few precious natural places such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I have actually visited ANWR and let me tell you, you really can't know what we'd be sacrificing until you see it.
So yeah, I'm investing a lot more than I should in my 18 year old Civic. The savings I get from consuming less fuel does not come close to the cost of maintaining this vehicle. But I feel a lot better about filling its tank. And I really have tried to consolidate my driving down to only what's necessary. Maybe driving a less comfortable car makes it a little easier (ha ha)!